The new arrangements will come into effect from 26 August to coincide with the start of the new academic year.
8,000 students to benefit
The initiative is expected to benefit 8,000 third-level students in the greater Dublin area and increase capacity for in-person immigration interviews
There will be no additional fee for applying online. The online renewal system will initially be available to students who live in Dublin.
Outside of the greater Dublin area, registrations will continue to be made in person at the nearest garda district office.
The minister added: “Ireland is home to third level universities and colleges of global standing. Increasing numbers of international students choose to come to study in Ireland every year. I am pleased to be able to make their interactions with the immigration services more accessible and user-friendly.”
Third level students who have previously registered with INIS, and who are progressing to the second or later year of a degree course, will be able to renew their immigration permission through a new online application system.
They will be able to submit their application and all supporting documentation online, pay the registration fee online and then post their passport to INIS.
The passport is needed to complete registration as their permission has to be placed in their passport in the form of the relevant immigration stamp.
The updated passport will be stamped and returned by registered post and their permit card will follow separately also by registered post.
INIS will consider extending the system to other categories of customers in line with other reform developments underway under its customer service improvements plan.
These reforms will see the much greater use of online applications and payments, a move towards pre-clearance schemes before arrival in the State as well as a series of processing reforms aimed at improving the service to its customers.
138,400 non-EEA nationals
In 2018, a total of 138,400 non-EEA nationals registered their immigration permission to be in the State.
This figure is up 20% on 2017 and covers a wide variety of permissions including persons coming for the purposes of work, business, family reunifications and as students. Students made up 55,000 (40%) of registrations in 2018.
Registrations for the wider Dublin area are carried out at a single location operated by INIS at its Burgh Quay Offices and last year a total of 83,400 were registered here with the remainder registered at over 75 Garda District Offices throughout the rest of the country.
Qualifying students may no longer present in person for immigration matters after the concession comes into force.
The scheme is only available for third level students taking a multi-annual degree course.
Students living in Dublin but at studying in Maynooth can also apply under the new arrangements. This will only cover students who are already registered at a third-level college.
The scheme does not apply to former students who are continuing to a different immigration permission.